QUESTIONS ARISE IN SUPER BOROVETS
The Super Borovets idea, born about two years and a half ago that unexpectedly gained speed, is taking on quite unexpected turn after the murder of banker Emil Kyulev. During the week several NGOs - Eco Rila, For the Earth, and Bulgarian Association for Alternative Tourism - announced they had prepared a report to the Chief Prosecutor's Office for violations in the work on Super Borovets after the death of one of its main initiators. It is said that at an urgent meeting invited by the Management Board of the Rila Borovets 2004 joint-stock company its statutes were amended without asking the stance of the major shareholder - Mr. Kyulev's heirs. The company was set up for the realization of the project's first stage, i.e. the construction of Lower Borovets.
According to the project, houses in the architectural style of the Bulgarian national revival period, family hotels, up to 3-storey villas, parking lots, a golf-coarse and other sports facilities, are to be built some 6 km from Samokov, 1,100 m above the sea level. The second zone - Medium Borovets - is within the limits of the present resort and no new construction is projected there. The third, most expensive zone - Super Borovets - is to be built around the Sarugyol hut, which is owned by the former premier Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
Emil Kyulev was the major shareholder in Rila Borovets 2004, holding a 51% stake through his company Contract 99. Glavbolgarstroy has 16%, Energocomplect - 8%, and the Samokov Municipality owns 25% of the capital against a contribution in kind - 800 dca of land. Two days after the death of banker Kyulev the Municipal Council in Samokov made a decision to make a second contribution in kind - 1,200 dca of land and make changes in the company's statutes. Both times the Sofia City Court evaluated the land at BGN3,70/sq. m, although the real estate prices in Borovets changed significantly within a year and a half. Currently, 1 sq. m of desolate agricultural land is offered to private persons at about EUR30/sq. m.
According to the NGOs, the Samokov Municipality has taken the liberty to make a contribution in kind - almost 600 dca of the land around the village of Radouil although some of its inhabitants have notary deeds for the ownership of that land. There are fears that after Emil Kyulev's death Rila Borovets 2004 may demerge and the municipality lose that land. Despite the second contribution in kind - the 1,200 dca - the share of the Samokov Municipality in the company remained unchanged because its equity capital was raised from BGN12MN to BGN28MN. And the law stipulates that once the land has been included in the company's assets, it's the only one that could dispose of it.
Ecologists claim that from the very beginning of the Super Borovets project there has been a lobby in the Samokov municipal council which voted for its implementation by force. It is believed that certain officials already see themselves as winning businessmen. Even the Euroroma representatives do not hide their plans to utilize the wood that will be cut. Even today we see local Romanies actively cutting the trees near the Rila mountain. They have strong positions at the highest level of the National Forests Administration. Devastating felling was found out just 100 m away from Samokov, in the so called Rido park, on February 1, Eco Rila Co-Chairman Yordan Terziiski said. Still, this cannot be compared to the losses expected to result from the implementation of the project. By the way, the only sanction imposed on poachers last year was the seizure of 13 Romanies' horses.
Some time ago, the first dig of Super Borovets was planned to be made in the end of January 2006. According to the optimistic plans, the present base of the resort offering 7,000 beds should be extended to 18,000 beds. According to the pessimistic plans, the beds should become 14,000. However, it is indicative that now the region talks less about the megacomplex and more about the land market and prices.